By Carlton Usher, Kennesaw State University
Super Saturday is the Atlanta Urban League Young Professional’s (AULYP) annual voter education series that emphasizes voting in national, state and local elections, as well as working with elected officials to enact change. Kennesaw State University’s American Democracy Project has been and remains a central partner since 2006. In 2006, Dr. Carlton Usher accompanied eight students affiliated with the African American Male Initiatives at Kennesaw State University (KSUAAMI) to the first event held at D.M. Terrell High School in Atlanta.
After the successful event at Terrell High School, Dr. Usher met with several community organizers to explore the possibility of organizing another event with Kennesaw State University as a major participant. Consequently, with the support of Dr. Ralph Rascati, Dean of the University College, and other members of the American Democracy Project team, Dr. Usher initiated a strong and lasting partnership with AULYP. The AULYP consists of bright and focused young leaders with strong reputations in governance, community development, and entrepreneurship. We remain extremely proud go these future leaders.
Super Saturday 2008 featured opening remarks by Beverly Hall, the superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, a keynote by Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort whose tireless work includes countering mortgage and lending redlining and gentrification in the downtown Atlanta neighborhoods. The mayoral panel moderated by WSBTV 2 reporter Tom Jones included the then
Candidate and current mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta City Council members Mary Norwood and Caesar Mitchell, and Jessie Spikes senior partner at McKenna Long and Aldridge
Super Saturday 2009 featured candidates Lisa Borders, Mary Norwood, Kasim Reed, Jessie Spikes and Glenn Thomas. Opening remarks were delivered by Atlanta Deputy Fire Chief Nishiyama Willis.
With the City Council President Lisa Borders conceding in a very close race, and the new mayor Kasim Reed in place, we focused our Super Saturday 2010 on the gubernatorial primary. Unlike the past events planned for September, this day of civic engagement was slated for considering both major parties primaries for July 20, 2010. A crowd of approximately 100 people heard Democrats DuBose Porter, David Poythress, Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, and Bill Bolton, as well as representatives of Democrat Carl Camon and Republican John Oxendine. The candidates discussed the challenges they believe the next governor should address. Most
talked about the state of the economy, local issues such as transportation, water, and public safety. After a few opening remarks from several local political strategists and lawmakers, the audience experienced an awesome and heartfelt keynote address by labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond (he is currently running for the senate against incumbent John Isakson). CBS news anchor Danielle Knox moderated the event and several news outlets interviewed the candidates before and after the debates. The coverage was extensive and Kennesaw and the American Democracy Project’s work in conjunction the AULYP remains one of the hallmark events leading up to the November election.